Silver utensils, including forks, knives, and spoons, are an unexpected and charming medium for all types of crafts. They can often be found in abundance at estate sales, garage sales, antique shops, and thrift stores. They can be heated, cut, hammered, and shaped into new forms, or left as they are but presented in new contexts. Artisans and crafters use silverware to fashion such objects as wind chimes, key rings, and jewellery. Bracelets made with silverware are enchanting accessories for both women and men.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Pure (not plated) silverware
- Butane or propane torch
- Heat-safe work surface
- Bowl of cold water
- Metal tongs
- Bracelet mandrel
- Rawhide mallet
- Silver polishing cloth
Obtain silver utensils that are pure silver, not silver plated. Note that pure silver utensils are easier to reshape into bracelet forms.
Choose a silver utensil that will make an attractive bracelet. Consider an antique silver spoon, which has soft, curvy lines and may already be embellished with a charming motif, such as flowers or vines.
Anneal the silverware by heating it with a butane or propane torch. Annealing makes metal more pliable and easier to hammer into new forms. Lay the silverware on a heat-safe work surface. Move the torch's flame back and forth over the surface of the silverware until the metal takes on a dull, red glow. Pull the flame away from the silverware. Turn off the torch.
Grasp the silverware with metal tongs. Place it into a bowl of cold water to cool. Let the silverware cool completely before removing it from the water.
Retrieve the silverware from the bowl of water. Position the utensil against a bracelet mandrel--a cylinder made of wood or metal that is used to form metal bracelets and other ring-shaped objects.
Hit the silver utensil with a rawhide mallet--a hammer used to form and bend metal without marring it--so that it begins to bend around the circumference of the bracelet mandrel. Strike the utensil repeatedly in different places until it is completely wrapped around the bracelet mandrel and the two ends of the utensil nearly meet each other. Leave enough of a gap between the two ends of the utensil so that you can slide it on and off of your wrist.
Slide the utensil off of the bracelet mandrel. It should form a cuff bracelet.
Polish the silverware bracelet with a silver polishing cloth to bring out its natural sheen.
Tips and warnings
- Where you position the silver utensil on the bracelet mandrel will determine how large the finished bracelet is. The mandrel is cone shaped; hammer the utensil around the smaller end of the cone for smaller bracelets, and the larger end for larger bracelets.
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